"A California group says it plans to clone Jesus, using DNA obtained from a relic," reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Fox News picked it up from there: "Members of the group see cloning technology as a chance to literally bring Christ to the modern age, find out exactly how divine he is and perhaps work a miracle." Dozens of papers picked this one up, from The Scotsman to Australia's The Age. It has to be true, right? I mean, the group even has a Web page at clonejesus.com. A Web page, I tell you! (Sigh.) Yes, readers, there is a Web site. And it has lines like "We're not satisfied with evasive answers like, 'Jesus is in our hearts,' or 'Jesus is everywhere.' Meaningless statements like that are meant to reassure children and the ignorant." It quotes liberally from Edgar Cayce. The "more information" tab takes you to a book with "recipes for cooking babies" and other such nonsense. Getting the picture? Forget clonejesus.com. The Web site you should really be bookmarking is Snopes.com—the best source for sniffing out urban legends like this. Its religion page also covers such gems as the NASA scientists' discovery of a lost day in time, the hole to Hell in Siberia, Madalyn Murray O'Hair's broadcasting petition, and Attorney General Janet Reno's cultist definition. Lies, all lies. As Snopes points out, "the person behind this [cloning Jesus] stunt is Kristan Lawson, who is primarily known for having published the Unabomber's manifesto in book form." For more on cloning Jesus, see this press release from the Evangelical Alliance UK, in which David Hilborn explains, "There are no genes or chromosomes for God. Divinity is what distinguishes Jesus from the rest of us and divinity is not contained in DNA."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has had a few billboards up here and there for years suggesting Jesus was a vegetarian. Now that ad campaign is in full swing. Slate takes a look at the ads and says it's a load of gardenburger. "No mainstream theologian buys the vegetarians' argument because the Gospels are fairly straightforward about the Messiah's tastes in food," writes Joshua Green, who's usually with the American Prospect. "But with this new campaign PETA foils the scholars by ignoring the biblical evidence—and the Bible altogether—preferring sources from the fringe field of "vegetarian theology" who depend on coincidence, historical speculation, and creative exegesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient texts to make their case that 1) Jesus was an Essene; and 2) that the Essenes practiced vegetarianism." Jesus Seminar scholar Marcus Borg weighs in, saying PETA is being intellectually dishonest with the evidence. Ah, Marcus Borg, defender of Jesus against those who would "ignore the biblical evidence—and the Bible altogether—preferring sources from the fringe field." Nice to see that for a change.
Rounding out our day's stories of strange, Jesus-related news, a supposed fragment of Jesus' cross was stolen from the entrance of St. Michael's Cathedral in Toronto. "Roughly the size of a paring from a newborn's fingernail, it was contained in a gold-trimmed capsule that was itself encased in a holder the size and shape of a hockey puck." Reports Toronto Star columnist Joey Slinger. "This was pried out of the marble stand at the foot of the Pieta in the cathedral's vestibule. Traces of the four thumbprint-sized pieces of electrician's tape that secured it in place are plainly visible." A church spokesperson told Slinger that the police have not been notified. "It was a judgment call," said the source "What could the police have done? It's not as if it's going to show up in a pawnshop."
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